Those of us who are fortunate to have a garden have been making the most of their outdoor space during the glorious weather we’ve experienced during lockdown.
Many of us have turned to gardening as a way to beat the boredom of staying at home, and as a result the nation’s gardens are looking more magnificent than ever.
If you are looking to get started with gardening, but don’t know your weeds from your wallflowers, we’ve devised a handy guide with lots of easy tips and tricks for the amateur gardener that will make your garden look ‘blooming’ beautiful.
Start with the correct tools
Gardening need not be an expensive hobby, but there are a few basic tools you’ll need to make your life easier. Invest in a good-quality garden fork as it can be used for much more than just digging up the weeds. It’s a multi-purpose tool that can mix compost, pick up leaves and lift mulch too.
A spray attachment for your hose is another must-have. The spray can be changed from a fine mist that is gentle enough not to damage seedlings, to a harsh jet that is ideal for sluicing down the patio or decking area.
Gardening can be hard work on your knees, but you can ease the pressure on your joints with a pair of knee pads. As they are strapped to your legs, and you don’t have to keep repositioning them as you’d have to with a kneeling pad, it makes gardening much more efficient.
The last tool for your armoury should be a pair of secateurs. They can be utilised for pruning, dead-heading, cutting twine or thin wire and make a handy alternative to scissors when opening grow-bags or compost packaging.
Grow your own veggies
Channel your inner Tom and Barbara Good and turn a corner of your garden into a vegetable patch. Courgettes, tomatoes and peppers are easy vegetables to begin with as they germinate easily from seeds and will produce a riot of healthy colour in your garden.
If you don’t have room for a vegetable plot, then tomato plants also thrive when grown in large containers. Lettuce is another winner which is fast-growing and produces multiple harvests. It should be planted in a pot that’s at least six inches deep.
Peas are a perfect choice for patio gardeners, as they are very hardy and don’t require much attention. They can be grown in smaller pots, making them ideal for balconies.
The low-maintenance flower garden
Want to turn your borders into a fragrant, flower-filled space without the effort? It’s really easy when you plant the right blooms.
For year-round colour, select a vibrant mix of perennials and shrubs. Asters are a sturdy perennial that is also a firm favourite for attracting butterflies. They can be grown in three heights; dwarf, intermediate and tall, so they can be placed anywhere in your flower garden.
Delphiniums are the gardener’s choice of early summer perennials. They thrive in most conditions, and there are many varieties and colours to choose from. If you want flowers that bloom later in the year, try the larkspur delphinium.
Get the lowdown on lawns
There is no escaping the fact that lawns need maintenance. But if you want to spend more time relaxing in your garden and less time maintaining it, then there are some things you can do to make your lawn easier to care for.
We’re big believers in keeping things simple. A rectangular or square lawn is much easier and quicker to mow than a lawn with rounded corners or an irregular area, so cut down on mowing time with a simple lawn shape.
By investing some time in your lawn at the beginning of the year, you’ll reap the rewards in the summer months. Spike the lawn, feed it and remove any patches of dead grass and moss. Reseed any bare patches and water regularly to keep it in tip-top condition.
If this seems like too much hassle, then consider artificial turf. The quality of modern fake grass has improved significantly and it’s really hard to tell the difference from the real thing. All you need to do to keep it looking fabulous is give it a brush every once in a while.
Weed it out
Weeds, moss and algae can make patio areas look unsightly, and in wet conditions can also be a slip or trip hazard. An important part of keeping your garden in tip-top condition is to get rid of the weeds, but there are a few tips we can share that will minimise and inhibit the growth of weeds.
Regular jet-washing of patios and decking areas will keep them safe, sanitised and a pleasant place to sit on a summer’s evening.
Mulch is a great way to prevent weed seeds from germinating in flower borders. It’s a term for composted bark or rotted leaves and also keeps moisture locked in the soil so you don’t have to water them so often.
Lawns and gravelled areas will benefit from being raked over to remove weeds, dead grass and debris and by keeping on top of these little chores, you’ll save yourself time in the long run.
Sit back, relax and enjoy
All gardens require some maintenance, but our gardening tips are designed to make your life easier. And once your garden is looking amazing, you can sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine in your outdoor space.